America is introduced to Bill Clinton: Part 1

The exciting Democrat from the South was a flawed character facing allegations about dodging the draft and extramarital affairs.
7:01 | 01/11/19

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Transcript for America is introduced to Bill Clinton: Part 1
For the first time in a dozen years, a Democrat has been elected president of the united States. Bill Clinton has won a landslide victory. Bill Clinton was the towering political talent of that generation. ??? Yesterday's gone ??? ??? yesterday's gone ??? I mean, he's charismatic. Charming. Ferociously intelligent. Bill Clinton was the president of the next America. He was a boomer president. Change, change, all that's going to have left in your pocket if you listen to those guys. It was a generational switch. It was the old guard of bushes and Reagans that were gone and now were these young, 40 something Democrats who were going to change the world. Join us, work with us, win with us and we can make our country the country it was meant to be. He had the political gift like few American presidents ever had. And it came out of that character where he had an almost kind of supernatural empathy. When America meets him, he is this exciting Democrat from the south. This is the last laugh, man. Clinton seemed to many to represent the values of an era, the '60s in which there was drug use and anti-war protests and sexual freedom. And that bothered some Americans. I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn't inhale. Bill Clinton came in the imagination and the vision of Republicans to stand for everything that had gone wrong in America. He had gone through the campaign and had to defend himself on having avoided the draft. I gave up my deferment before the lottery came in and I was I in the draft, it was the luck of the draw that I got a high lottery number. There wasn't much of a honeymoon when it came to questions of character. There was talk from the early stages about his sexual proclivities. His greatest challenge as a campaigner, his greatest challenge as a candidate, comes from these ghosts of his promiscuity in Arkansas. And so, from the very beginning, he has a Gary hart problem. In Denver, Colorado, this morning, Gary hart is going to make a statement about his political future. I've made some mistakes, I've said so. I said I would because I'm human, and I did. Maybe big mistakes, but not bad mistakes. Gary hart was the presumptive favorite to be the democratic nominee in 1988, and he gets caught in an extramarital affair. No doubt now whatsoever in my mind that Gary hart is out of this for at least the 1988 political campaign. And so, the lesson that many learned was, your private life is now fair game. Thank you very much. Clinton was very scared by that, and based on that, he decided not to run for president in 1988. Then, by '92, he figured everybody had, more or less, gotten over it and he could go ahead and run. Have you ever had an extramarital affair, governor? If I had, I wouldn't tell you. There's concern on the part of members of your party that these allegations of womanizing, that the Republicans will find somebody. I think it is highly unlikely, given the competitive environment in which I've been in that you have anything to worry about on that score. And then he ran right into the sex scandal with gennifer flowers. Here we go again. A major contender for high public office is confronted by charges of private wrongdoings. Do you have any comments about the allegations from gennifer flowers? She was a nightclub singer, the molecular opposite of Hillary. There was an awful lot of libido, and not much of a sense of propriety or limits. When gennifer flowers stepped out and held a national press conference days before the new Hampshire primary, saying -- Yes I was Bill Clinton's lover for 12 years. With tapes to prove it. And for the past two years I have lied to the press about our relationship to protect him. The country found out what pretty much it seemed everyone in Little Rock knew, which is that Bill Clinton was a womanizer. Governor's mansion, longer creek. Hey, is Bill Clinton in, please? She did call me. I never initiated any calls to her. Hello? Gennifer? Yes? It's Bill Clinton. Hi bill. Hey, I tried to call you. I can't believe I got you. The truth is, I loved him. Now he tells me to deny it. I expect them to come looking into it and interview you and everything, but I just think that if everybody on record denying it, you got no problem. In the past, that would be enough to sink you. That would be enough to end your career as a politician. In the me too era, these allegations probably would not be dismissed as much as they were at the time. With the help of Hillary Rodham Clinton, he deals with this problem, and turns to the American people and asks the American people to accept the fact that he has a complicated marriage. I said, what you can do is use the gennifer flows scandal to deflect attention from the draft and you and Hillary might got on TV for an interview. And he ended up doing "60 minutes." You know, I have acknowledged wrongdoing. I have acknowledged causing pain in my marriage. He was elected president, largely because Hillary stood by him. You know, I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like Tammy wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him and, you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him. Bill Clinton is introduced to the American people as a flawed character. But he says, I have reformed. Because, who hasn't sinned? But once you give someone forgiveness, it's fair to expect better behavior. An makes him vulnerable. It's not that he did it once. It's that he promised not to do it again. He gambled, and gambled correctly, that voters would forgive and look past a claim of a past adulterous relationship. But then a lot of us as reporters wondered, okay, if he did it then, is he doing it now as president of the united States? I never even came close to sleeping with him. Why, because you were standing up? We didn't have sex, Linda. It's not -- we didn't have sex. I don't know, I think if you go to -- if you get to orgasm, that's having sex. No, it's not. Yes it is. No, it's not. It's not having -- Having sex is having intercourse. I'm getting an education.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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